Getting Physical

>> Sunday, November 6, 2011

So, two people of whatever age have become romantically interested in each other, specifically two men have acknowledged this interest to each other. Now, as I'd mentioned in previous posts, if these two guys are already gay and know it, they will probably move on to the next steps with minimal fanfare. They might even have travel sized bottles of lube or condoms in one or more pockets. But that's not particularly interesting to my way of thinking or that different from a similarly armed heterosexual couple comfortable with sex. And yes, I will be talking about it.

I'm more interested in what goes through the mind of someone(s) who never thought he was gay facing up to what that means. I mean, if physicality wasn't any part of the issue, hanging out all day and all evening, every evening, probably wouldn't even raise an eyebrow. That's the up side to same gender friendships (and some heterosexual friendships, actually). In fact, that's one thing that surprised me when I first read yaoi. I've read a LOT of shoujo manga and I can count on one hand the number that have moved beyond kissing and hand-holding, maybe some light groping, to sex. I've now read a LOT of yaoi (written, ironically enough by women for women, remember, just like shoujo) and I can count on one hand the number of manga that have NOT overtly including sex.  Which argues physicality is a key element.

 (No, boys and girls, I won't be putting up any actual sex shots, I swear, just pictures that illustrate my points on how complex the topic is, like this one that's quite pertinent from a practical little one shot called [inexplicably] Wild and Strawberry [link has sexually explicit pictures] by Suzuki Tsuta. But, again, I will be talking about it.)

But, whereas reference is plentiful on what men and women do together, including most sex education courses, and the jigsaw fits neatly, that kind of information is not as readily available and/or things may not be so intuitive for men, even men who have experience with women. There are several key differences known to even the most reticent and I would guess that your young man who'd never really considered male-to-male coupling before would be a bit daunted, quite probably a whole lot embarrassed, and potentially scared out of his mind.

It's not without it's up side, of course, aside from pleasure. One of the reasons why sex with girls is a "big deal," particularly among the younger sets just getting their hormones revving, is that pregnancy is a very real concern. Disease is, too, but, let's face it, most people don't think it can happen to them (which is, sadly, how they get spread), else the pill would not be such a popular method. A girl's got to be (or at least ought to be) careful who she, eh, spreads her legs for because, even today, the bulk of the onus and responsibility for the end results she bears. That particular boogeyman, getting someone pregnant, does not apply in homosexual cases. Disease, however, still does.

Now, there are many that assume gay sex is "just" anal sex, but, according to [warning: link has sexual explicit pictures] Wikipedia, it is far from ubiquitous (~2/3 of gay men) with various alternatives I will not describe here but that are mentioned in passing on the link provided. You are free to do (or not do) your own research.
From Yajuu de Hatsukoi [warning: link has sexual explicit pictures]by Yamato Nase
But it's a non-trivial thing. Places on your own body you probably never thought of anyone but your wife touching (and places you never expected/wanted anyone to touch) will be handled, even licked by someone else, another man. Men can (and have) been overpowered by other men and that's a real fear, too. As someone on the receiving end of sex, it's frightening to give up so much for trust. I don't regret it, but I can tell you, even with everything fitting together and hormones raging, my first experiences (yes plural) were very painful. Technique matters. Fear and anticipation matter, too. Ditto for trust.

That's even more true with something as invasive as anal sex. Technique and lubrication are considered key elements in the comfort of this technique even it's not your first time. And, and I've had no luck finding an answer in the yaoi, I've never figured out how one decides who is going into whom the first time. Is there a special formula? Does someone call dibbs? Is this a source of consternation and friction early on for many new couples? I'm not being flippant; I'm honestly curious. I would think the experience far more daunting for the never-did-it-before receiver than it would for his partner who is largely doing a variation on what is done with women. But if the first time's botched royally, I would expect it would be challenging for either partner to continue, at least together.

You know, that's a lot of pressure. More so than premature ejaculation or not getting your girl off, though perhaps on kilter with not making her first experience painful (though, from what I've heard from friends, most girls don't remember anyone being particularly considerate). The partners involved have to have an extraordinary level of trust and commitment (however physical that is) if they want the pairing to be successful over the longer hall. Talk about performance pressure!

Why talk about this? Because this is something I really haven't addressed before. Physicality is important for male-female romances, too, but it's different and distinct with different requirements, different hangups and different challenges. What's the same is almost as fascinating as what's different.

From a character interaction standpoint, the prospect, anticipation, and follow-through on something like this is outside anything I've written about or thought about. It seems earth-shattering to me, making me very grateful to be a girl, and gives me all kinds of ideas on how to bring intensity of feeling forward in my own writing. The stakes. The responsibilities. The impact.

Damn, I love to learn.


  • Anonymous

    "I've read a LOT of shoujo manga and I can count on one hand the number that have moved beyond kissing and hand-holding, maybe some light groping, to sex."

    Oh, it's out there, but only in Japanese. There's actually a lot of sexually explicit shoujo, and a ton and a half of sexually explicit josei (adult women's manga); the former is frequently called "teen's love" (or TL, by analogy to BL) and the latter "ladies' comics" (redicomi). In the Japanese market, smutty het romances for women make up about as many manga books published per year as smutty BL, although the BL books generally sell better. English-speaking readers, oddly enough, don't seem interested in girl-oriented smut unless it's BL: very little of either smutty shoujo or smutty josei has been legally published in English, and even scanlators don't do much of these sort of books. Why this is so, I'm not sure.

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